Diversity and Inclusion Business Roundtable and Partners Launch Second Chance Business Coalition to Improve Access to Employment, Advancement for People with Criminal Records

Apr 26, 2021

Washington – Today, Business Roundtable announced its partnership in the launch of the Second Chance Business Coalition, a cross-sector group of large employers committed to expanding second chance hiring and advancement practices within their companies. Coalition members, comprised primarily of Business Roundtable member companies, believe the business community has a critical role to play in providing employment opportunities to individuals with a criminal record, supporting their reentry into the workforce and improving equity in employment. 

“Creating economic opportunity for all Americans requires opening new paths to employment in ways that are inclusive and create a diverse talent pool of qualified candidates for in-demand jobs. Through its partnership with the Second Chance Business Coalition, Business Roundtable members are underscoring that providing a second chance by recruiting, hiring and advancing employees who have a criminal record is central to achieving that objective,” said Business Roundtable President & CEO Joshua Bolten.

 Approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population has a criminal record. Research shows many face barriers to employment as a result, thereby limiting their opportunities for economic security and upward mobility. Pre-pandemic, the roughly five million formerly incarcerated people in the United States faced an unemployment rate of 27 percent, more than five times the national average. By equipping employers with talent management resources and best practices, the Coalition is committed to expanding opportunities for individuals with criminal records to access in-demand, good-paying jobs, reducing their risk of recidivism and supporting their reentry into the workforce and society.

“Far too many Americans are limited in their prospects for employment and upward mobility because they have a criminal record, even though they may be qualified for a job,” said Craig Arnold, Chairman & CEO of Eaton and Chair of the Business Roundtable Racial Equity and Justice, Subcommittee on Equitable Justice. “As business leaders, it is incumbent upon us to remove barriers to employment and advancement by allowing individuals with criminal records to fairly compete for job opportunities.” 

 The Second Chance Business Coalition is co-chaired by Arnold and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon. The Roundtable and four other partner organizations will lead the Coalition: the Society for Human Resource Management, Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation, Stand Together and the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Pivot Program. Several companies have already joined the Coalition, including Accenture, AT&T, Bank of America, Best Buy, Cisco, CVS Health, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Eaton, Gap Inc., General Motors, The Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Koch Industries, Kroger, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Prudential Financial, Inc., Schnitzer Steel Industries, Target, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Union Pacific, Verizon Communications, Visa, Vistra Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart.

 “Business has an important role to play in making it easier for people with criminal backgrounds to get back on their feet,” said Dimon, who also serves as Chair of the Business Roundtable Racial Equity and Justice, Subcommittee on Finance. “At JPMorgan Chase, last year, we hired 2,100 people with criminal backgrounds. Providing a second chance will give people dignity and allow them to provide for their families, and it helps companies like ours expand the number of people we hire to ensure we get the best talent.”

 The Coalition will support its members by:

·        Developing best practices and enabling companies to share approaches and experiences, learn from subject-matter experts and deploy tools to improve second chance recruitment, retention, manager training, performance and satisfaction.

·        Launching pilot initiatives to test new approaches to second chance hiring and advancement practices. This effort will include partnerships with community service organizations and providers and will use metrics to guide decision-making.

In October, Business Roundtable CEOs announced corporate actions and policy recommendations to advance racial equity and justice and increase economic opportunity across six systems: employment, finance, education, health, housing and justice. As part of justice-related actions, the Roundtable committed to partner on the creation of a business coalition to advance second chance hiring by employers. Today’s announcement is the outgrowth of that commitment.

 For more information on the Second Chance Business Coalition, please visit www.secondchancebusinesscoalition.org.

 For large employers interested in joining the Coalition, please email info@secondchancebusinesscoalition.org.